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Whither the GOP? 

Street Smarts

With President Obama's approval ratings slipping and those of Congress at an all-time low, the Republicans are launching the race for the 2012 elections with the far right and moderate wings of the party vying for control. It's a battle afoot in local GOP circles as well.

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Jason Burlis from downtown is a bar owner

What comes to your mind when you hear the term, "Republican Party"? Sarah Palin, unfortunately.

What's the best thing about the Republicans? A mindset that supports small and medium-size business owners better than the Democrats.

Will there be a viable third party in our lifetime? I believe so, because a large sector of moderates, independents and libertarians aren't represented by either party at present.

Why the tendency for young people to be Democratic, and for middle-aged and older people to be Republican? When we're young at heart, we're hopeful and tend to believe the best in people. When we get older, we care more about financial security and national defense.

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Andrew Evell from downtown is a UCCS student

What does the term "Republican" bring to your mind? My dad. Conservatism. The huge number of them in Colorado Springs.

Name something you'd change about the Republican Party. How social and fiscal conservatives are presently grouped in the same party. They need to be separate.

Name the best thing about the GOP. Commitment to the Constitution.

What's the difference between a Libertarian and a Republican? Libertarians are committed to minimal or no government involvement. Republicans want government to legislate moral codes consistent with Christian views in issues like drug use and same-sex marriage.

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Alan Ley from Old Colorado City is a triathlon consultant

What most needs changing in the Republican Party? I haven't seen any strong leadership in years.

Pinpoint the best thing about Republicans. They want less government control and regulation. We need a return to free enterprise.

Will there be a viable third party in our lifetime? If the Republicans can't come up with a strong [presidential] candidate — and I certainly don't see one yet — we definitely need a third party.

Why do Democrats tend to appeal to youth, but the GOP to the middle-aged and older? Younger people genuinely want for everyone to be fed, have health care, and go to great schools. That would be nice, but older people recognize that's not going to happen, and I'm not sure it should. We do need, however, to bring those in the lowest part of the spectrum to a higher level.

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